OLD BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An elementary school on Long Island has been forced to stop in-person learning after nearly an entire class of third graders tested positive for COVID-19.

Old Bethpage Elementary has been closed for in-person learning since Jan. 25 following the coronavirus outbreak.

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“This is an isolated incident. We are really studying it. We know there were some lapses,” said Dr. Mary O’Meara, superintendent of the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District.

Eleven of the 16 children in the third-grade class and the teacher tested positive.

O’Meara informed parents there were “lapses in mask wearing protocols and symptomatic individuals who were in attendance the week before the outbreak.”


Nassau’s health department says the increases in cases are particularly among siblings in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District. They urge parents to be extremely vigilant with the quarantine orders in households.

Doctors say after-school activities, like youth karate and wrestling, played a role in the outbreak.

A nearby clinic went virtual after two positive tests.

“We talked to the Plainview superintendent, and then we’re working closely with them and the department of health, make sure all the guidelines are taken care of,” said John Busto, of Busto’s Martial Arts.

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“School’s not the problem, the problem is social events,” one man said.

“If the parents would keep their children safe, then it would stop the spread a little bit more,” one woman said.

“I had a dear friend who got very sick from her grandchildren,” another woman said

“The younger the child is, they may or may not understand the full implications of wearing the mask,” said Dr. Adrian Popp, of Huntington Hospital-Northwell Health. “So if we can make it fun for kids, have a nice mask with little bit of a design, maybe we can entice them to be more compliant.”

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Have you been told yet if it is one of the new variants first identified in the U.K. or South Africa?” CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan asked O’Meara.

“No, we haven’t. They’ve said to us that your current protocols are enough to ward against the variant,” O’Meara said.

The state and county are working with the district to investigate and ramping up rapid testing. Safety is concern number one.

The state says it will test for the COVID variant within the school district.

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Jennifer McLogan